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Signing Day: Basketball stars playing football?

In honor of national signing day for college football, we figured we’d put together a full football team with both offensive and defensive squads included of just class of 2012 basketball recruits. From guys who you’d love to see on the football field to guys who actually are on the football field, this would be a pretty scary bunch to match-up against. We used the 3-4 defensive scheme and give a hat tip to C2C Recruiting for the idea.

Quarterback | Marcus Paige | 6’1 | 160

I don’t know if the North Carolina-commit has ever thrown a football before, but if he’s nearly as good at directing an offense on the football field as he is on the basketball court, this squad is in good shape. He’s a very intelligent player who’s an extension of the coach and loves to pass the ball.

Running Back | Yogi Ferrell | 5’11 | 160

Ferrell would be a very elusive ball-carrier in the backfield and is one of the quickest players in the class of 2012. The Indiana-bound point guard would likely be tough to tackle in the open field and once he gets by you, he’s probably gone.

Wide Receiver | Willie Cauley | 6’10 | 215

This basketball big man is an absolute stud on the football field accumulating over 1,250 receiving yards in addition to 15 catching touchdowns. The future Wildcat is a big target to say the least and could have played football in college if he wanted to.

Wide Receiver | Devonta Pollard | 6’7 | 200

Pollard was a factor on the football field this season as well as on the basketball court and recorded over 500 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He’ll be one of the biggest deep threats on this team after he had two receptions that totaled over 70 yards each last fall.

Tight End | Shaquille Goodwin | 6’8 | 245

Goodwin is another big man turned pass-catcher and racked up four touchdowns this past season at tight end. This Memphis-bound power forward also averaged over 10 yards a catch and is a big target for any quarterback.

Tight End | Shabazz Muhammad | 6’6 | 215

Muhammad doesn’t have any football experience in high school, but given how good of an athlete he is, it’s no stretch to think he’d be a great tight end on the gridiron. Some of the best pro tight ends are former basketball standouts (i.e. Antonio Gates) and we think he could continue that trend.

Left Tackle | DaJuan Coleman | 6’9 | 275

Coleman is a very big body and seems like a good person to trust to protect the quarterback. He would probably be most dangerous when run blocking and would be very effective in goal line situations. The Syracuse-commit could likely carve as much space out on the line as he does in the paint.

Left Guard | Robert Carter | 6’8 | 250

Could you imagine Carter pulling around the corner and burying an unlucky cornerback? This future Georgia Tech standout has a tremendous combination of size and quickness and has good feet which is useful on the offensive line.

Center | Tony Parker | 6’9 | 270

He plays center on the basketball court and could probably play center on the football field as well. He’s a big body and has good hands so that could translate well in terms of pass blocking. He also has enough size to take on the biggest of nose tackles.

Right Guard | Georges Niang | 6’7 | 230

The Iowa State-bound power forward seems like a good fit at guard because of his excellent footwork and great mechanics on the hardwood. Both of those are key to being successful on the offensive line and Niang would be effective when pulling around the corner.

Right Tackle | Cameron Ridley | 6’10 | 230

Ridley would be assigned the task of protecting Marcus Paige’s blind side. The future Longhorn has good size and toughness and is a hard-nosed player. He’s also been improving his conditioning so he would punish defenders all game long.

Nose Tackle | A.J. Hammons | 7’0 | 275

Hammons is the biggest guy in the class of 2012 and would be a nightmare to block. He’d take up a lot of space in the middle of the defense and would free up the linebackers behind up to give them room to operate. The future Boilermaker would be tough to move in goal line situations.

Defensive Tackle | Shaquille Cleare | 6’9 | 270

The future Terp would be close to immovable on the defensive line. Between his strength, feet and hands Cleare seems like a player who could be effective in the trenches. He also displays good power in the lane which would translate well to the football field.

Defensive Tackle | Joel James | 6’10 | 260

James is a powerful big man who would round out the defensive line nicely. He loves contact and would disrupt any plays on his side of the line because of his ability to plow through people. He’d be a guy I’d like to watch play football.

Outside Linebacker | Ricardo Gathers | 6’7 | 240

Gathers seems like the perfect fit at the outside linebacker position in the 3-4 defense. He’s strong, athletic and loves contact. He’s also quick enough to slice through the offensive line and make a play in the backfield. Gathers is someone who would do well on the gridiron.

Inside Linebacker | D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera | 6’3 | 220

DSR reminds me of a [Redskins inside linebacker] London Fletcher-type player. He’s tough, strong and willing to initiate contact with anyone despite his size. He’s going to fit in well at Georgetown and is someone I want as the captain of my defense because of his intelligence.

Inside Linebacker | Justin Anderson | 6’5 | 210

Anderson is a terrific athlete and would operate well in space. He’d be able to cover the field sideline to sideline and isn’t afraid of contact. Between his athleticism and physical tools, he’s someone you just figure out a way to get on the field.

Outside Linebacker | Anthony Bennett | 6’8 | 230

Bennett rounds out a physical, athletic linebacking core that would be very tough in run situations. Bennett is a powerful, yet graceful big man who can use his explosiveness well at linebacker. His good hands could also net some interceptions.

Cornerback | Ricardo Ledo | 6’6 | 180

Ledo played football his first couple years of high school and although he played quarterback and wide receiver, we think he could fit in at cornerback. He’s athletic, has good size to make it tough for people to throw the ball over him and he has good ball instincts.

Cornerback | Gary Harris | 6’4 | 195

Harris is actually a standout at wide receiver but we need a shut-down corner and Harris may be the guy to give us that. He caught nearly 1,000 yards this past season and scored 13 touchdowns. Hopefully is experience at cornerback would provide some balance to our run-stopping defense.

Free Safety | Rasheed Sulaimon | 6’3 | 175

We would have liked to put Sulaimon at cornerback but didn’t have room with Gary Harris and Ricardo Ledo taking up the two spots. He’ll still be able to cover people at free safety and between his length, athleticism and intelligence, we think he could be an effective safety.

Strong Safety | Marcus Smart | 6’3 | 200

Smart is an explosive player who we’d like to have creep up near the line of scrimmage some times. He’s powerful but quick and would be a great fit for a safety who hangs around in the box. The Oklahoma State-bound shooting guard would also punish receivers for crossing over the middle.

*Photos from ESPN, Nike, Rivals, NY2LA Sports and 247 Sports are in this article.

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